Georgia’s white-tailed deer population is a great natural resource that provides aesthetic, consumptive, and economic value. Each year, approximately 300,000 deer hunters harvest nearly 400,000 deer over the course of the deer season.
The annual economic impact of deer hunting in Georgia exceeds $890 million and supports more than 11,000 jobs. In addition to hunting, a number of key issues and opportunities are linked directly to this resource. These include, among others, wildlife viewing, ecological functions, agricultural damage, and deer-car collisions. Properly managing this resource is vitally important and can be a challenging and, at times, controversial topic.
WRD’s successful management efforts are informed through biological data, public input and management objectives identified in the agency’s statewide deer management plan, developed through an intensive public participation process. WRD is seeking to continue integrating public involvement by asking for public comments on the draft of Georgia’s 10-year deer management plan.
Toward that goal, WRD is requesting participation in eight statewide public meetings, scheduled in mid-August. These meetings are the final opportunity to allow members of the public to provide input regarding the draft DMP.
“We value the public’s awareness of and participation in this important process,” said John W. Bowers, chief of Game Management. “We are looking forward to great participation at all of the meetings and encourage those interested to attend.”
During these meetings, citizens will be given an overview of stakeholder recommendations and WRD proposed actions on key deer management issues followed by a public comment period. Some of these issues include: deer population densities; seasons and bag limits; hunting methods; hunter access; urban deer management; and education and outreach.
All meetings will start at 7 p.m. Nearby meetings include Aug. 18 at Town’s Bluff Heritage Center, 54 Riverwood Trail in Hazlehurst and Aug. 21, Susan Shipman Building, 1 Conservation Way, Brunswick.
For those unable to attend the public meetings, comments will be accepted until Sept. 5.
The complete draft plan will be available Friday and comments may be submitted electronically at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/Meetings. Written comments may be sent to: WRD Game Management, Attn: Charlie Killmaster, 2065 U.S. Highway. 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025.
For more information on the Georgia Deer Management Plan or to view the key issues, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/Meetings or call (706) 557-3260.